There is a very good reason The Stinking Bishops has such a whiffy name. The Newtown boutique cheese bar and restaurant is named after a particularly redolent washed-rind cheese produced from the milk of Gloucester cows in the UK.
As the name suggests, The Stinking Bishops is a wonderland for cheese lovers. More than 60 types of fromage from near and far line its shelves and feature on the dinner menu.
Chef Kieran Day was on holiday in Europe when the idea for a cheese-focused establishment took shape. “I’ve always been pretty fond of cheese, I saw a couple of little joints over there – nice cheese shops and tapas-type places – and thought, ‘Why hasn’t someone opened a dine-in cheese shop in Sydney?’”
He teamed up with Jamie Nimmo, a fellow cheese lover who wanted to swap work in the film industry for something more family-friendly and closer to his country roots. In 2014, they opened Sydney’s first dedicated cheese bar in Newtown. Today, their white-tiled venue is a much-loved fixture of the vibrant Enmore Road dining scene.
Broadsheet tasked Day with devising a grilled sandwich featuring Floridia Cheese’s Pecorino Pepato, a hard cheese dotted with peppercorns, which is popular in Sicily – the birthplace of Floridia Cheese’s founders, Mauro and Carmela Montalto. It recently received a Champion award at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards for the best hard cheese in Australia.
The Montalto family arrived in Australia in the ’50s, bringing with them the traditional craft of cheesemaking that was so integral to cultural life back home. They bought a small cheese factory in Melbourne and called the operation Floridia after their hometown in Sicily, a rural community on the island’s east coast that hosts an annual ricotta festival.
Today, Floridia Cheese is a third-generation family business, run by the Montalto’s grandchildren. Their pecorino pepato has a lively kick, says Day. “It’s not over-aged. It’s got a nice balance of sweetness and saltiness, and a nice bit of heat from the peppercorns as well. It’s a good representation of a pecorino made in Australia.”
Day’s grilled-cheese sandwich pairs the peppery pecorino with fresh oxheart tomato and morcón, a Spanish rum- and chilli-spiced salami. “Pecorino, being a slightly sharper cheese, always works really well with tomato’s acidity and sweetness,” he says. “Fatty, porky salamis work really well with the cheese as well, so it was a no brainer really.”
For those wondering what to drink with a toastie, Day suggests a good pinot. “The pecorino works well with rosés and crisp white wines.”
Floridia Pecorino Pepato Toastie (A.K.A 'Mr Crispy')
Makes 1 serve
2 slices of good quality white sourdough
100g of Floridia Pecorino Pepato
3 thick slices of oxheart tomato
5 slices of La Boqueria morcón salami
Good quality Australian butter
Butter one side of each slice of sourdough. Construct the sandwich with the butter side facing outwards. Start with the cheese, followed by the tomato and then the morcón. Make sure the tomato is in the middle to prevent sogginess.
Toast either on a hot plate or in a non-stick pan with a weight on top. Cook until golden brown on the outside and the cheese is melted. Serve with a side salad of your choice.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Dairy Australia. See the full list of 2019 Australian Grand Dairy Awards winners here.